All things come in cycles. People cycle in and out of different aspects of your ministry based on their age, employment, schedule and life priorities. Insightful pastors and lay leaders will watch these cycles and quickly identify the people who come up again and again. Who makes all the mission trips? Who volunteers to clean up after events more often than not? Who comes to the planning meetings and offers constructive advice? These are the people you can rely on to help the ministry grow. But what about the next generation of leaders? If you aren’t identifying potential leaders coming out of Youth Ministries, Vacation Bible Schools and worship ministries such as the Choir, you are potentially missing out on the next lay leader or even someone who may discover a call to ministry. With all that in mind, how can you guide these young people to become the leaders of the future? Here are a few tips. Track their interactions It’s one thing to hear the random comment about a young person’s attitude or aptitude, it’s another thing to keep track of it. Whenever possible, keeping track of their participation in church ministry and educational opportunities will give you an idea of what leadership areas within your ministry might be a good fit for them down the road. Nurture their interests In addition to identifying those young leaders, it’s important to nurture them. When Jimmy consistently shows an unsolicited desire to help younger students in Sunday School or when Kelly has participated in the multiple food drives over several seasons, once you’ve noted that in your records, make sure to follow up to offer them encouragement and involvement at whatever comfort level suits them. Look at the big picture Keeping an eye on an individual is important, but if you are really interested in planting seeds for the next generation of your ministry, you have to look at the congregation as a whole. How many of these leaders-in-training do you have? What areas of your ministry tend to attract future leaders? By looking at the broad scope, you can create more of those opportunities that bring out the best in your youngest members. The path you set for youth in your congregation will ultimately bear fruit in years to come. If you need help building a nurturing plan for your ministry, call us anytime at 800.877.0222. We’ve spent over 40 years working helping ministries grow and prosper and we have the tools you need to identify, track and help nurture leaders for the next generation as well as reaching out to visitors or organizing groups. Let us help you.